September 26, 2015

Superhero Adventure Challenge Event News


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September 17, 2015

Baby Steps

Dan Krampf of Cumberland gets installation instructions from Becky Capel of The Family Junction during a car seat check Thursday at Allegany College of Maryland.  Child passenger safety technicians helped caregivers correctly install their children's car seats.  For more information, call The Family Junction at 301-777-2858 or go to www.familyjunction.  The event was held in conjunction with Maryland Kids in Safety Seats. (Steve Bittner/Times News).


October 19, 2011

The Family Junction, Inc. celebrates 15th anniversary with new logo

CUMBERLAND — The Family Junction Inc. is celebrating its 15th anniversary by unveiling a new logo that encompasses the momentum and vision for the future of the organization.

A contest held through an online logo design company provided 282 entries with the winning design selected as a symbol “that striving toward a healthy, stable family can often seem unattainable, but it is a realistic, achievable goal with the added support and guidance of The Family Junction.”

“The Family Junction’s new logo was chosen to reflect new and continual growth, not only of our organization and its programs, but also that of area families,” said Executive Director Melanie McDonald. “Our logo is meant to portray families as a source of strength and support to one another, while also a place to celebrate unique differences and inspire endless possibilities. We promote these qualities by providing opportunities for family guidance and enrichment.”

Upcoming activities include a free infant massage course today at 6 p.m. at Beall Elementary School in conjunction with The Judy Center. To register, call 301-777-2858.

The 7 Habits for Highly Effective Families will be held Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. Call Allegany College of Maryland at 301-784-5341 for more information or to register.

The Family Junction began as a byproduct of the Social Security Act which called for localized programs to protect children, promote family strength and stability, enhance family functioning and develop a more responsive service delivery system. A planning team of individuals from various public agencies, private agencies and the community assisted throughout the creation process.

In May 1996, The Family Junction began services under the auspices of the Allegany County Health Department, was granted designation as a tax-exempt charitable organization in May 2001 and began independent operations in October 2001.  

In February 2004, The Family Junction moved to its present location at 610 Memorial Ave. through the generosity of the Western Maryland Health System. The house was renovated through funding from a Community Development Block Grant awarded to the city.

As the area’s only parenting organization serving families with children up to age 18, The Family Junction provides parents with support at every stage of their child’s development.

The Family Junction also collaborates with other agencies and businesses to advance their latest programs. In September, The Family Junction was chosen as a partner agency of County United Way and this month, the group received a grant from the DelFest Foundation. The organization was also selected as the beneficiary of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Allegany! Class of 2011’s service project funds from Fiesta Allegany! on Cinco de Mayo.

For more information, go to, which includes a Family Calendar of Events that encourages families to participate in community-based educational and recreational opportunities.

May 30, 2011

Letter of Appreciation

The Family Junction would like to express our gratitude to all those who attended the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Allegany! Class of 2011 Fiesta Allegany! on Cinco de Mayo at the Allegany Museum. Through the generosity and collaboration of our community and the Leadership Allegany! Class of 2011, we were able to raise over $15,000 to be used to support parenting programs for local families.

Community partners for the event included AES Warrior Run, Allegany Computer, American Woodmark Foundation, Aramark, Atkinson Welding, City of Cumberland, Cumberland Times-News, Crothall, Friends Aware, Lowe’s and PharmaCare.

A special thank you, as well, to Leadership Allegany! Class of 2011’s Maureen Brewer, Keith Broome, Debra Buckalew, Kathy Condor, Kathy Connelly, Chris Hallam, Terri Hast, Heidi Hager-Buser, Mark Kerns, Brian McCormick, Ron Rodrique, David Rose, Jennifer Scarborough, Brenda Smith, Matthew Smith, April Willetts and Jo Wilson.

The cooperation and support of Allegany Chamber of Commerce’s Sara-Beth James and Peg McKenzie, Allegany Museum’s Gary Bartik and Jill Frank, Allegany Radio Corporation’s Amanda Mangan and Cumberland Times-News’ Elaine Blaisdell, Larry Effingham, Jen James and David Wilson were also essential to the event’s success.

Prize winners for the Fiesta Allegany! Raffle included $2,000 Home Makeover from Lowes - Sean Fradiska; $1,100 Travel Voucher - Chuck Moran; 50” LG Plasma TV - Jennifer Ward; His & Her GIANT Mountain Bikes - Dan McTaggart; HP EliteBook Laptop Computer - Rhonda Parsons; iPod Touch - Jimmy Friend; Kindle - Julie Michels and RCA Small Wonder Point & Shoot Camcorder - April Willetts.

The Family Junction, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting positive parenting and strengthening families in Allegany County. Since 1996, The Family Junction has provided support to families by furnishing parents with the resources they need to build strong, healthy relationships with their children.

Parenting curriculums taught by qualified instructors at The Family Junction stress active parent involvement, successful communication skills, appropriate boundaries, practical discipline methods, age-appropriate expectations, nurturing techniques and stress relief. Through effective communication, common-sense parenting skills and positive discipline, parents learn how to enrich the relationship between themselves and their children in weekly individual or group classes.

For more information on our upcoming classes or to learn more about The Family Junction, please call 301-777-2858 or visit our website at

We would also be remiss without properly thanking our Board of Directors for their contagious enthusiasm and unwavering encouragement. The Family Junction Board of Directors includes Renee Adams, Mia Cross, Luann Gaglio, Shari Harman, Samantha Isom, Molly Moran, Natalie Tenaglio, Samantha Shank and Jo Wilson.

Thank you for your continued support of The Family Junction…because families matter!

Melanie McDonald
Executive Director
The Family Junction, Inc.


May 5, 2011

It’s a fiesta!

Cumberland Times-News

From left: Sue and Jim Peterson talk with Chris and Karen Hallam Thursday during Fiesta Allegany!, an event held at the Allegany Museum to benefit The Family Junction. Chris Hallam is a member of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Allegany! Class of 2011, one of the organizers for the event.


May 4, 2011

Making fiesta festive

Cumberland Times-News
decorating fiesta

Decorating for the Fiesta Allegany! fundraiser Wednesday at Allegany Museum in Cumberland are, from the left, Brenda Smith, Eleanor Madden and Terri Hast. The Cinco de Mayo celebration will be held today from 6 to 10 p.m. at the museum, Pershing and South Mechanic streets. Proceeds will benefit The Family Junction. Those attending will be treated to Mexican beverages and cuisine. Raffle items include a $2,000 home makeover, $1,100 travel voucher, his/her mountain bikes, an iPod Touch, a Kindle and a 50-inch television. Raffle and event tickets can be purchased through The Family Junction at 301-777-2858 or


April 26, 2011

Family Junction Walk n' Roll

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April 26, 2011

Family Junction Fiesta Allegany

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April 24, 2011

Infant massage helps parents, babies bond

Matthew Bieniek Cumberland Times-News

FROSTBURG — Tiffany Gallion learned something pretty quickly about her 8-month-old son, Waylon, after she began giving him massages.

“He doesn’t like his stomach messed with,” she said. Waylon does enjoy his massages though and Gallion said she’s recommended that other parents learn the techniques she learned from Melanie McDonald, a certified infant massage instructor, at The Judy Center at Beall Elementary School.

“It’s the most relaxing class I teach,” McDonald, who is also the executive director of The Family Junction, said. “It’s pretty simple; we demonstrate on doll babies, then they practice along with us. We also give them a book to take home,” McDonald said. McDonald has been teaching the classes, offered periodically, for about five years.

The Judy Center provides funding for the class. Family Junction provides the teacher, and Family Support Services coordinates enrollment and snacks, McDonald said. “Usually we teach the class several times throughout the year,” she said. The class is one session and lasts about an hour and a half.

“I really liked it; Waylon has some neck muscle issues. He tolerated it well,” said Gallion. “It’s a lot easier than I anticipated. It was better than I expected, it was really hands-on,” Gallion said.

Some of the health benefits of massage for infants include relief of pain and colic, relaxation and the development of good muscle tone, according to Loving Touch’s website. The Loving Touch organization promotes and offers training on infant massage.

Infant massage isn’t only for moms, said McDonald. Dads are encouraged to come too, and overall, the classes break down with about 70 percent mothers and 30 percent fathers.

“We also have had grandparents come as well,” McDonald said. Since the classes are relaxed and informal, parents can change a diaper, and nurse or feed a baby. McDonald is not a licensed massage therapist, so she demonstrates on the doll, not on the actual babies.

“We teach the strokes in sequence. The parents take the booklet home and we give them a little bottle of massage oil. We encourage them to use apricot oil rather than a mineral-based oil, it’s much gentler. They can also borrow a video,” McDonald said.

“People think they have to do it exactly right,” but that’s not the case, McDonald said, and parents can learn a lot from the baby’s reaction to the massage as they continue to practice it at home. “Times when the baby is quietly alert is the best time to do it, when the baby is calm, looking around, but not active,” McDonald said.

The atmosphere created in the class is one of the best aspects of the class, McDonald said.

“The first thing I notice is that the parent enjoys it as much as the babies. All the parents are smiling,” she said. “It’s relaxing and soothing — the soft music, it gets everyone in a relaxed mode,” McDonald said. “Last class, the babies were on their bellies, and the parents were massaging their backs, it got really quiet,” she said.

The usual number of babies is about 15 per class, McDonald said.

For more about infant massage, visit

Contact Matthew Bieniek at


Alyssa Irons massages her 3 1/2-month-old son Dylan during a recent infant massage class at The Judy Center at Beall Elementary School. The one-session class is taught periodically throughout the year. © Steve Bittner


Meg Roque rubs the shoulders and chest of four-month-old Ripken during the class. © Steve Bittner


April 17, 2011

Fiesta Allegany!?event, raffle to benefit Family Junction

Elaine Blaisdell Cumberland Times-News

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany?County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Allegany! Class of 2011 is hosting its first Fiesta Allegany! in order get the word out in support of The Family Junction Inc.

The Family Junction was chosen by the class as its funding recipient, according to Brenda Smith, Leadership Allegany! class member.

“We felt like this organization needed more help than others. It struck a chord with us because so many of us are parents,” said Smith. “This project (Fiesta Allegany!) will promote awareness of the good things that The Family Junction does and this gives us a good venue to get it out there.”

Jo Wilson, class member, was in agreement with Smith about getting the word out

“The Family Junction is a quiet nonprofit, and we no longer want to be quiet,” said Wilson.

The Family Junction is a private organization dedicated to promoting positive parenting and strengthening families in Allegany County. Since 1996, The Family Junction has provided support to families by furnishing parents with the resources they need to build strong, healthy relationships with their children, according to The Family Junction website.

“Parents make a difference in the lives of children,” says the website. “The Family Junction makes a difference in the lives of parents.”

Wilson explained that families don’t have to be court-ordered to take advantage of The Family Junction’s programs; it’s for anyone who needs help easing the stress of parenting.

“There are other alternatives to yelling at your children or, God forbid, hitting them,” said Wilson.

The Family Junction offers parenting support groups, individual classes, infant massage and lactation counseling, according to Melanie McDonald, executive director of The Family Junction.

“We offer parental support by encouraging parents to be more positive with their children and to see their children as a blessing,” said McDonald. “We provide parents with a parent toolbox which offers them an alternative to being physical.”

The Fiesta Allegany! event will include Mexican cuisine and beverages complete with cooking exhibition stations. It will be held May 5 from 6 to 10 p.m. in the grand ballroom of the Allegany Museum at 3 Pershing St. The cost of the tickets are $35 or two for $60. Raffle tickets are $20 and prizes include a $2,000 home makeover from Lowe’s, $1,100 travel voucher, 50-inch LCD?TV, a laptop computer, his and hers mountain bikes, an iPod touch and a Kindle. Raffle tickets can be purchased prior to or during the event. All proceeds will go toward The Family Junction.

Ron Rodrique, assistant plant manager at AES, underwrote all the expenses. Other corporate sponsors include?PharmaCare, Friends Aware, Crothall Services Group, American Woodmark, Aramark at Western Maryland Health System, Cumberland Economic Development Office and Allegany Computer.

Tickets for the event can be purchased by calling The Family Junction at 301-777-2858 or they can be picked up from Smith in the lower level of City Hall.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at

Front row, from left:?Kathy Connelly, April Willetts, Maureen Brewer and Brenda Smith; second row:?Debbie Buckalew, Heidi Buser, Keith Broome, Jo Wilson, Terri Hast and Matt?Smith; third row:?Chris Hallam, Kathy Condor, Mark Kerns, Jen Scarborough, Dave Rose and Brian McCormick pose for a photo while wearing t-shirts to support Fiesta Allegany! The event, organized by the Allegany?County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Allegany! Class of 2011, will support Family Junction.


February 13, 2011

Allegany Radio Corporation’s Community Forum with Family Junction

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Family Junction Partners with Allegany College of Maryland for New Courses

The Family Junction, Inc. is partnering with Allegany College of Maryland to offer two new courses, Infant Massage and Practical & Positive Discipline Methods, which will furnish local parents and caregivers with the resources they need to build strong, healthy relationships with their children.

Infant Massage will be offered twice from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 28, 2011 and again on Monday, March 28, 2011. The cost for the class is $50 per family and only 10 openings are available per class.

The Infant Massage course will demonstrate simple massage strokes for parents with infants up to one year of age and promote parent-infant bonding and wellness. Infant massage encourages pre-verbal communication between caregiver and infant, while it also teaches parents to become more confident in caring for their children.

Parents will also learn how to read their infant's cues and gain the tools to understand each child's unique rhythms and patterns. For infants, massage improves circulation, promotes relaxation, provides bonding and reduces discomfort due to teething, colic, gas and congestion. This course is not just for mothers as infant massage is an excellent way for fathers or grandparents to interact with their little ones too!

Practical & Positive Discipline Methods will only be offered on Monday, April 18, 2011 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The cost for this class is $35 per individual.

In the Practical & Positive Discipline Methods course, you will discover practical discipline techniques to be used in everyday situations for every child. You are the most powerful influence in your child’s life and by helping others parent effectively, we provide the resources parents need to strengthen their relationships with their children.

Our goal is enriching your relationship with your child through positive discipline, effective communication and common-sense parenting skills. When you are confident and happy in your role as a parent, your children will be confident and happy as well.

Please call Allegany College of Maryland's Continuing Education Department at 301-784-5341 to register for these courses.

For more information on our upcoming classes or to learn more about The Family Junction, please call 301-777-2858 or visit our website at


Monday, December 13, 2010

Family Junction Unveils New Website

The Family Junction, Inc. recently launched a new website,, which features a local calendar of events for families, a list of upcoming parenting classes and a page of links to parenting resources.

To promote active parent involvement, The Family Junction’s website highlights a family calendar of events. Showcasing family-friendly events with locations in our surrounding communities, the website allows parents to visit one location to find a wide-range of upcoming events for children. By using, parents can view activities and events on a particular day or browse by month. Community events to be included on our family calendar of events can be submitted via our website.

The new website also provides parents with a list of upcoming classes, such as Practical and Positive Discipline Methods, currently offered by The Family Junction. Since 1996, The Family Junction has offered a wide array of programs to meet the many needs of parents within our community. Promoting positive parenting and empowering parents through effective communication, common-sense parenting and practical discipline skills, The Family Junction’s courses ease the stress of parental challenges and present useful, encouraging solutions for parents.

As another way of providing parents with relevant, up-to-date parenting information, our website provides links to various local and national parenting resources. Parents can find answers to their questions and learn more about day-to-day parenting issues that arise, such as appropriate limit-setting and age-appropriate expectations.

For more information on our upcoming classes or to learn more about The Family Junction, please call 301-777-2858 or visit our website at


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Family Junction offers parenting workshops on Mondays

The Family Junction is offering a weekly parenting workshop on Monday evenings through December 20, 2010 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Southminster Community Center on 308 Race Street. Classes will focus on enriching your relationship with your child through positive discipline, effective communication and common-sense parenting skills. Dinner and childcare are provided, and there is no cost for this workshop. Pre-registration is required, please call 301-777-2858 to register.